Archive for the ‘Heraldry’ Category.

McDuck Coat of Arms

A post on the forum of the American Heraldry Society prompted me to look for the arms of Scrooge McDuck (the cartoon character created by Carl Barks and made famous by the Walt Disney Company).

Having been a fan of the particular grumpy (and rich) Duck, I was very much familiar with his story and personality but it never occurred to me that he might be armigerous. In retrospect, it makes sense that he is.

After a search online, I came across a fascinating website dedicated to the (fictional) Clan McDuck and maintained by the Norwegian Sigvald Grøsfjeld jr.. There, I found an entire write-up on the arms of McDuck, different variations and the story behind them. What I found to be most interesting were the quotes from the artists that created the arms for the comic books expressing their thoughts and reasoning for picking the charges and tinctures that they did.

Honestly, the arms aren’t the prettiest in the world and I’m not crazy about the tincture selection as there isn’t enough contrast between the tawny field and the gules of the bend and canton.

However, they are the arms of McDuck, one of the most ancient Scottish clans and I should respect that!

The website is particularly entertaining and a real treat for all the fans of the feathered miser, who also happens to be the “Richest Duck in the World”.

The link to the heraldry page is:

The link to the main Clan McDuck site is:


Note: All images in this post are copyright of the Walt Disney Company.

The Heraldic & Genealogical Society of Greece

After a long time, the oldest and most important organization dealing with heraldic and genealogical studies in Greece now has a website.

The Heraldic & Genealogical Society of Greece (Εραλδική & Γενεαλογική Εταιρεία Ελλάδος) was founded in 1975 with the explicit objective to  organize the research of these topics in the Hellenic region. The Society has set the high standards in Greek genealogical and heraldic research for particular area concerned.

Throughout its history, the Society has counted among its members and its Board of Directors some of the top Greek researchers, veritable celebrities in their field.

The library of the Society is truly enviable as it contains some of the most important texts ever published on the histories of Greek families or the heraldic research of particular regions. Among its collection one also finds all the volumes of the Society’s journal that have been issued since the very first one in 1979.

For anyone that is of Greek ancestry or interested in the family histories of the region, many of which go back to the height of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.

The link to the Society’s website is:
(the site is entirely in Greek)


Note: The Heraldic & Genealogical Society of Greece should not be confused with the  Greek Heraldry Society based in London (founded in 2009) and its good work.


Signet rings

From time to time my desire to have a signet ring resurfaces and I start going around the Internet looking at those borne by others and samples on display by various artists & craftsmen.

I started writing this post almost six months ago and a post I recently read on Fredrik Brodin’s Armorial Blog on the same topic made me realize that he did a better job than I.  I would urge anyone to read Fredrik’s article however, I felt I could contribute a little to augment what’s already there.

I wanted to go over the regional traditions:

In the British Isles:

  • Favor the use of the crest, crest and motto, or badge.
  • Prefer the use of solid gold signet rings.
  • Wear the ring on the left pinky finger.

In France:

  • Use the shield, with coronets of ranks when appropriate.
  • Use of solid gold signet rings is most common, though the use of semi precious stones is also found.
  • Wear the ring on the left ring finger.

In Germanic Countries:

  • Prefer to depict the entire armorial achievement. However, it is not uncommon where shield and coronet of rank, if appropriate have been used.
  • Prefer the use of a gold ring set with an engraved semi-precious or precious stone.
  • Wear the ring on the left ring finger.

In Scandinavian countries:

  • Use the shield and coronet (if applicable) or crest.
  • Prefer the use of a gold ring.
  • Wear the ring on the left pinky though it is also commonly found on the right hand ring finger.

In Greece & other South East European countries:

  • Prefer either solid gold or gold with a semi-precious stone.
  • Wear the ring on the right pinky.

 In the Iberian Peninsula:

  • Use the shield and coronet of rank (if applicable).
  • Prefer either solid gold or gold with a semi-precious stone.
  • Wear the ring on the left pinky.

In the Americas:

  • Follow the tradition of the country that originally found the colony (i.e. Britain for the US & Canda, Spain for most of the rest, Portugal for Brazil, etc.) or the tradition of their own country of origin

Naturally, a modern day armiger can start his or her own tradition and wear the ring wherever is most comfortable.



A gallery of Islamic arms

A while back I had written about heraldry not being exclusively Christian nor exclusively European.

My friend Hassan Kamel Kelisli Morali was kind enough to provide not only to provide information for that article but also to provide samples of Islamic arms.

This post is to demonstrate some of the beauty of arms used in the Islamic world.



Note: all images provided by Mr. Hassan Kamel Kelisli Morali for which I thank him.

Heraldry is not an exclusively Christian nor an exclusively European phenomenon

There are many misconceptions and even falsehoods out there about heraldry, such as the notion that heraldry is restricted to nobility or that a coat of arms can only be acquired via a grant from a sovereign or only used by snobs.

One other such misconception is that heraldry is restricted to Christians to the exclusion of all other religions.

It is true that heraldry as we know it today emerged in Europe and was primarily a Christian phenomenon but, it was not exclusive to Christians nor restricted to Europe. There is evidence of Jews using coats of arms throughout the history of heraldry, even as far back as the 1300’s (per fess a lion issuant and barry of six or and azure,  belonging to a Daniele di Samuele of Forlì, Italy found on a manuscript from 1383 kept in the British Museum). There has also been significant scholarly research done that (inconclusively) demonstrates that heraldry was adopted by the Crusaders from the Muslims it fought in the East!

Regardless of where heraldry originated from, the fact remains that heraldry was not and is not restricted to any particular religion just like it was not and is not restricted to any particular social class.

Let’s not forget that the three major religions have been living next to each other, if not in enclaves within each other’s territories, for as long as the three religions have existed. As a result, the communities interacted and adapted to the norms needed. There are ample examples of, say, heraldic achievements belonging to prominent Jews being depicted on seals on official documents throughout Europe.

Even outside of Europe there is a long history of heraldic usage as has been documented by islamic scholars, the most famous of which is the treatise “Contribution à l’étude du blason en Orient” by Yacoub Artin Pacha. In this monumental work, Yacoub Artin Pacha compiles an impressive armorial of ancient Islamic shields and demonstrates the long history of heraldry in the Islamic world. As a side note, in this same text a case is made for the Islamic origins of heraldry but, that’s a topic for another post (maybe).

Thankfully, the tradition of heraldry continues to our own times where families and individuals continue to use coats of arms that have either been inherited, newly granted or freely assumed.

The arms above are those of Hassan Kamel-Kelisli-Morali who bears the arms that have been in use by his family for at least two centuries: Vert two bendlets between as many mullets Argent.

The arms above are those of David E. Cohen who freely assumed his arms in 2008: Bleu Celeste a Bar nebuly Argent a Base enarched Vert overall a Key palewise double wards to base Or within the bow a Sapphire Cabochon proper. As an indication of how the misconception persists, he once shared that he has a hard time getting artists to emblazon the key on his shield without a cross!

Both gentlemen above not only gave me permission to post their arms but they also were very helpful in providing some of the information in this post.

Below is a short list of online resources I recommend for anyone that wants to read more about this:

And I just covered Islamic and Jewish heraldry. There are numerous examples of heraldry, both historic and modern, for all other groups from around the world!